Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Point of care detection of rare cells in blood

Laboratory analyses at the bedside or in the hinterlands can reduce the cost and increase the capture of disease states in underserved populations. The injection of a blood draw directly into a portable device that requires no further operator interventions is a Critical Challenge. With today’s automated chemistry and a miniaturized flow cytometer this challenge could be met.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Although portable flow cytometers exist, they are not equipped with chemical automation and rare-cell enrichment capability. An integrated system could be applied to multiple diagnostic goals. A sufficiently versatile design should be able to detect and enumerate specific cell populations at any level (not only rare cells) in the circulation — T-cell subsets in AIDS, for example.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Automated mixing and labeling, magnetic bioseparations, microfluidics, high-intensity LEDs and sensitive avalanche photodiodes can be combined to address this CC.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Paul Todd

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-6 net votes
4 up votes
10 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Tools to facilitate availability and safe use of innovative blood products and their analogs

Novel blood products are being developed based on innovative science (e.g., ex vivo manufactured RBC and platelets, and platelet and plasma derived hemostatic products). However, there is a significant lag in the development of appropriate tools and model systems, which poses a challenge when evaluating such products for regulatory approval.

Submitted by (@chintamani.atreya)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The rapid advancement in science and technology has identified pathways for ex vivo manufacturing of RBC and platelets; platelet and plasma derived hemostatic products and recombinant coagulation factors, etc. However, these novel products have to be evaluated for their safety, efficacy, purity and potency as part of regulatory approval process. Because the new products are manufactured using innovative technologies some of the existing tools for their evaluation are inadequate. Therefore, future investments in the development of necessary predictive tools (I.e. regulatory science tools) in areas such as the following will positively impact the availability and safe use of innovative blood products and their analogs: 1) the development of analytical and biochemical assays, 2) animal models for product safety and efficacy, 3) product quality-associated biomarkers to characterize storage lesions of RBC and platelets and 4) functional assays and molecular and bioinformatics models that can predict the success of novel blood products both during manufacturing and with respect to clinical patient outcomes.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This initiative is feasible as investigators in blood organizations, academia and government are already working independently towards this goal in their defined areas of study. However, a coordinated effort among these independent entities could help in the faster development of necessary regulatory science tools to optimize care of individual patients and patient groups.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Office of Blood Research and Review, CBER, FDA

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12 net votes
17 up votes
5 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

A risk-based framework for evaluating blood donor selection criteria

Is there a risk-based framework for evaluating the blood donor selection process, to capture relevant risk factors for transfusion-transmitted diseases, while modifying policies that do not contribute to transfusion safety?

Submitted by (@anne.eder)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Precautionary measures have been essential to blood safety, but the precautionary principle requires periodic evaluation of donor selection policies as information emerges on their risk, benefit, and cost. For example, the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability recently called for efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of blood donor educational materials and screening questions. Recent research provided a cognitive evaluation of the Donor History questionnaire, assessment of contemporary risk factors for transfusion-transmitted infections, and insight into non-compliance with the current MSM donor deferral policy. Consequently, FDA announced in December 2014 their intent to recommend a change the deferral period for men who have had sex with men (MSM) from an indefinite period to one year. A framework is needed to evaluate other deferral policies to identify relevant risk factors among prospective donors, and modify those questions that do not contribute to blood safety. In addition, the factors that influence blood donors’ compliance and comprehension of the educational material and questions are incompletely characterized but strongly influence the effectiveness of the screening process and validity of the information elicited by the questionnaire. Rational and prudent donor selection, deferral and retrieval policies are crucial to protect transfusion recipients while encouraging repeat blood donation among healthy, motivated individuals.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Blood centers collect and manage large volumes of information on blood donors, donations, and components after distribution and have successfully collaborated on pilot and exploratory studies to define, collect and analyze specific data to probe specific research questions about donor eligibility criteria. Continued collaboration among blood collection sites should allow for broad representation of blood donors in future research studies which will increase their generalizability.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Anne Eder MD PhD and Dana Devine PhD for the 2015 NHLBI Stateof the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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13 net votes
28 up votes
15 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

The potency and safety of transfusable red blood cells

Can we identify approaches to improve potency and/or safety of transfusable RBCs? 42 day pre-transfusion storage of RBCs maximizes utilization, while minimizing waste. However, RBCs undergo changes during collection, manipulation and storage that may reduce their potency or safety. Progress in understanding markers that predict transfusion success at the time of collection and with storage remains slow. New technologies ...more »

Submitted by (@nareg.roubinian)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

While novel RBC storage methods have been described, the mechanisms underlying their efficacy has not been defined, a step that will be important for further improvements in this area. Some of these methods appear to improve efficacy of the RBC bioenergetic pathways; however, to date there have not been notable advances in reducing cytoskeletal defects common in stored RBCs. The development of new RBC preservation methods that minimize the impact of the storage lesion on specific areas of concern (e.g., diminished oxidation/peroxidation, decreased membrane fragility) is needed.

 

Use of ex vivo generated RBCs is an alternative to conventional donor-derived RBCs which can potentially improve product consistency, reduce the storage lesion, and improve safety. However, advances are needed before this approach is feasible on a large scale. While the development of blood substitutes including blood pharming will likely require more than 3-10 years before it can be ready for the clinic, Blood Pharming from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells is now technically feasible and the recent development of genome editing methods suggests the exciting possibility of generating GMP compliant “immortal” stem cell sources to produce transfusable RBCs.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Research should include both pre-clinical and clinical studies to define optimal combinations of known factors preserving red cells (e.g. hypo-osmolarity, energy sources, antioxidants), and the development of methods for RBC pathogen reduction that do not increase the storage lesion.

 

Procedures for generating blood cells from cultured stem/progenitor cells is not currently cost-effective, limiting near term applications to special patient populations such as specific RBC phenotyping of rare donors for chronically transfused patients. Areas of research needed to advance the development of blood substitutes and blood pharming include: (a) new approaches to blood substitutes including artificial oxygen carriers generated from red cell lysates/components or engineered from combinatorial chemico-biological approaches (e.g., derivatization of hemoglobin, encapsidation of modulated oxygen carriers); (b) a better understanding of the biological properties of cultured RBCs with the goal of reducing blood pharming costs; (c) optimizing methods to expand stem cell populations while allowing differentiation to selected clinically relevant blood cell populations at clinically relevant levels; and (d) optimizing methodologies that faithfully replicate embryonic development to develop the cells of interest.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Nareg Roubinian, MD and Naomi Luban, MD for the NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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14 net votes
31 up votes
17 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Transplantation across HLA barriers in aplastic anemia

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is curative in aplastic anemia with much less intrinsic toxicity than transplantation in hematologic malignancies. The recent BMT-CTN trial demonstrated 97% survival at one year with little subsequent decline. However patients without matched related or unrelated donors have graft-rejection rates of up to 50%. Preliminary data from the Netherlands suggests that anti-thymocyte globulin ...more »

Submitted by (@jantin)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The use of umbilical cord blood or haploidentical donors has proven effective in patients with hematologic malignancies, but in non-malignant disorders outcomes are limited by graft rejection. Overcoming rejection in this context would be applicable to other non-malignant disorders such as thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, and other congenital disorders of hematopoiesis.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

It will require a large coordinated network like BMT-CTN to obtain sufficient patients studied in a uniform fashion to provide consistent reproducible data. .

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Joseph Antin

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110 net votes
137 up votes
27 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Stem Cell Biology

There is a need to develop “designer platelets” and “designer red cells,” as well as facilitate large-scale production of these products for therapeutic and diagnostic use.

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The reprogramming of adult stem cells has resulted in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can develop into any tissue of the body. These iPSCs ultimately may be used as a transplantable source of stem cells for a variety of hematologic diseases. Although this technology has enabled the generation of patient-specific or disease-specific stem cells that are also amenable to genetic manipulation, the major scientific hurdle has been the ability to create clinically meaningful functional blood products, including transplantable HSCs from differentiating iPSCs. The production of clinically functional blood products -- i.e. red blood cells derived from autologous iPSCs --could replace allogeneic products in highly immunized patients and the generation of megakaryocytes for patient-specific platelet production from iPSCs could drive significant progress in this area. Furthermore, disease-specific iPSCs could serve as targets for both drug development and drug screening in patients with rare hematologic disorders. In addition, support for scale-up and GMP processes, which are difficult to fund via the R01 mechanism will require specific grant opportunities tailored to infrastructure and process development.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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25 net votes
53 up votes
28 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Mitigating risks due to the RBC storage lesion and vulnerable patients

What are the underlying dependencies (genomic, metabolic, disease) in individual donors that either accelerate or delay the changes to red blood cells during refrigerated storage? What methods of preparation might protect patients from the risks posed by the accelerated degradation of RBCs provided by "poor storers"? What characteristics of individual patients make them particularly vulnerable to transfusion of red ...more »

Submitted by (@andrew.dunham)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The changes in red blood cells during refrigerated storage have been well documented and associated with negative clinical sequelae in the peer reviewed literature. While the impact of this so-called storage lesion does not impact every patient during every transfusion it is reasonable to expect that when a unit of blood is transfused to a particularly vulnerable patient from a donor that has red blood cells pre-disposed to degradation, stored in a manner that has allowed significant change to occur, the risk of a negative clinical sequelae is increased. In this case it will be important to understand what underlies the likelihood of a donors blood to store poorly, the changes that occur during storage that could impact vulnerable patients and design approaches to mitigate the degradation that could result.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

We believe mitigating the impact of the storage lesion is feasible by reducing and controlling the oxygen concentration in the RBC unit prior to refrigerated storage. We are continuing our development of a device to do this and to generate the data demonstrating the effect of deoxygenation and anaerobic storage.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Andrew Dunham

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3 net votes
3 up votes
0 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Blood Pressure Recommendation

What should be the systolic blood pressure goal for pharmacological treatment, and should it vary by age or by cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk category?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Despite fifty years of clinical trial research and forty years of national guideline activity, important clinical questions remain under intense scientific debate. The importance of these questions are underline by the scientific consensus that hypertension is most important cardiovascular risk factor globally, in fact, more important than even tobacco use.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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-1 net votes
13 up votes
14 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

What new methods of platelet preparation, processing, and storage are needed for hemostasis in various clinical conditions?

The limitations of 5-day 22˚ C storage significantly impacts platelet availability. It is critical that we develop new methods of collection, processing, storage to extend the storage time of platelets, and evaluate the use of whole blood. The attributes of these products must be understood to optimally alignment product attributes, clinical efficacy and safety with hemostatic needs in a variety of clinical states. Specifically, ...more »

Submitted by (@bldbuddy)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Limitations of current storage methods challenge our ability to meet the increasing demands of cancer chemotherapy and complex surgeries as well as provide platelets to remote areas where trauma frequently occurs. Platelets are transfused to prevent or control bleeding without robust translational or clinical trial evidence of efficacy and safety. In patients with hypoproliferative thrombocytopenia receiving chronic platelet transfusion predominantly for prophylaxis, post-transfusion increments, survival time, and durable hemostatic efficacy are important; however, platelet transfusion alone does not prevent bleeding. The overall state of hemostasis, the endothelium and donor characteristics that affect platelet quality may be important considerations in selecting the best platelet product tailored to individual patients. Better laboratory and clinical measures of platelet function, efficacy and safety are essential for best use of these limited resources. These outcomes should span and link in-vitro testing, animal models, and clinical effects such as thrombotic events, immune, hemostatic, and endothelial effects. Extrinsic, recipient factors (e.g., immune deficiency, platelet or endothelial dysfunction) and intrinsic factors (e.g., donor specific or platelet preparation) should be considered. Systematic analysis of recipients and donors should be broad and include considerations of glycomics, metabolomics, proteomics, genomics, in vivo microscopy, and advanced imaging.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Radiolabeled platelet recovery and survival methods are well established and feasible to perform at several centers within the US. Currently 4-6 million units of platelets and whole blood are transfused per year. It is very feasible to conduct clinical trials that compare methods of platelet preparation, processing, and storage in children and adults who require platelets for either prophylaxis or active bleeding. Multiple research networks that focus on both pediatric and adult transfusion medicine are motivated to perform the pre-clinical and clinical trials required to establish improved efficacy and safety of platelet-containing blood products.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Terry Gernsheimer, University of Washington, for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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14 net votes
34 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Biology of Red Blood Cell Alloimmunization

What determines which individuals will develop RBC alloimmune responses resulting in clinically meaningful sequelae? This question encompasses: 1) the generation of alloantibodies that limit the availability of compatible blood or cause hemolytic disease of the fetus or newborn (HDFN); 2) the distinction between clinically significant and insignificant alloantibody responses, especially within alloantibody specificities ...more »

Submitted by (@nareg.roubinian)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Humans exposed to RBC alloantigens, following therapeutic transfusion or in pregnancy following maternal exposure to fetal RBCs, can generate humoral alloantibodies capable of leading to hemolytic transfusion reaction, (HTR), or of leading to HDFN. RBC transfusions can also induce autoantibodies, and can lead to hyperhemolysis. It is poorly understood why some patients mount a detectable alloantibody response (“responders”), whereas others do not (“non-responders”). Within the responder population, alloantibodies may be categorized as “clinically significant” or “clinically insignificant”, based upon whether the resultant specific alloantibodies have been previously reported to cause HTR or HDFN. However, incompatible transfusion will only result in meaningful in vivo hemolysis in some patients, even with antibody specificities classified as clinically significant.

 

The ability to define responder/non-responder status before initial RBC exposure has the potential to: 1) decrease rates of RBC alloimmunization in responders through the provision of extended matched RBCs for initial and subsequent RBC exposure; 2) conserve valuable antigen negative RBC units for patients who will derive the greatest benefit; 3) conserve transfusion service resources in terms of time spent identifying antibodies and procuring antigen negative RBC units; and 4) decrease rates of HTR and HDFN.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Patients with hemoglobinopathies, especially those with SCD and thalassemia, have high rates of RBC alloimmunization and thus are important target populations for these studies. The impact of methods to reduce RBC antigen exposure or pathogen inactivation on neoantigen development remains unknown. The health impact of addressing the question of RBC alloimmunization is that the discovery of mechanistic underpinnings will provide a rational basis for the development and translation of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, with a goal of increasing transfusion safety.

 

Though these questions are unlikely to be completely answered within the next 3-10 years, existing and emerging immunohematology and genomics tools, evolving sophistication of animal models, and existing and novel systems for human studies including donor-recipient repositories have the potential to increase the understanding of when and how alloimmunity to RBCs evolves, in what contexts it is clinically significant—even life-threatening—and how this important, but currently challenging and poorly understood condition, might be prevented and/or mitigated.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Nareg Roubinian, MD and Naomi Luban, MD for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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44 net votes
58 up votes
14 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Epigenetics and Genomics

There is a need to investigate hemoglobin biosynthesis in order to develop novel approaches to treat sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and other anemias.

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Studies on epigenetic mechanisms have extraordinary promise for the development of transformative therapeutic approaches for non-malignant hematologic disorders, however, limited progress has been made in advancing therapies to counteract the often crippling complications of these conditions. In the case of sickle cell disease, an ensemble of proteins has been implicated in mediating the epigenetic repression of gamma-globin expression, raising the possibility that antagonizing the actions of these proteins to increase gamma-globin expression may be a useful treatment strategy. However, in certain cases, some of these proteins are deemed “undruggable,” based on their structural attributes. There is a critical need to identify druggable components of the multi-step epigenetic mechanisms as well as develop better models and assays that will more effectively identify modulators of “undruggable” proteins. Given the rich proteome and improved technologies available today, studies of proteomics, metabolomics, and regulatory RNAs are likely to reveal promising translational avenues. In addition, approaches to modifying the expression of the components of this pathway are underway using developing gene therapy strategies, such as viral vectors and/or gene editing can quickly advance therapy in sickle cell disease and β-thalassmia.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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42 net votes
62 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Genome Profiling

What structural changes need to be implemented in the health-care community in order to support the use of genomic information in clinical trials and drug development for hematologic diseases?

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

In various blood disorders, including hematologic malignancies, there are both inherited and somatic genetic alterations that contribute to predisposition, transformation, disease progression, responsiveness to therapy, and treatment complications. The presence of such genetic alterations underscore the need for the identification of rare but traceable mutations as well as the integration of such genomic information into clinical trials. By implementing a few structural changes in the healthcare sector, a clinical trial infrastructure can be established that accounts for proper application of sequencing technology. Some examples include the creation of genome diagnostic networks that address accrual of sufficient patients, procurement of suitable tumor/non-tumor material for sequencing, as well as pharmacodynamic and correlative biology studies in hematologic diseases.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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11 net votes
22 up votes
11 down votes
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